Around 1856, R.S. Man and Julian Feild built a gristmill at the crossroads that was to become the center of Mansfield.
The Mansfield Historical Society reports that in 1856 Feild bought 540 acres in the area, and the mill was completed sometime in the next three years. Feild became the first postmaster in 1860. The community took on the name of Mansfeild, but repeated misspellings over the years led to the modern name, the society says.
Mansfield showed 1,375 residents in the 1950 census. By 1970, it had grown to 3,658, and the explosive growth began that decade. Residents of both Arlington and Fort Worth were attracted to the scenic area where land was easily available. But local government had a significant role in the expansion.
“During the mid 1970s, a local group of business persons initiated the first organized business park area,” says former Mayor Tom Corbin.
The Trammell Crow Co. from Dallas acquired 1,700 acres of land and developed the Walnut Creek Valley residential development and Country Club with 18-hole golf course that was later expanded to 36 holes.
Transportation and water played a role as well. I-20 — seven miles north — opened in 1975, followed a few years later by U.S. 287 through Mansfield.
Mansfield Methodist Hospital brought a medical community to the city. And the city added recreational facilities such as the public Mansfield National Golf Course, Big League Dreams and the waterpark Hawaiian Falls.
All of that, Corbin says, triggered the city’s growth. Between 1980 and 2012, the city grew 610 percent.
“In sum,” Corbin said, “the availability of employment, reasonable housing opportunities, schools, safe neighborhoods, transportation, recreation and sports, and city services triggered the growth.”
Residents are fond of touting Mansfield’s “lifestyle” as part of its attraction to new residents. Corbin describes that as “a lifestyle of independent opportunity to follow the personal interests of each resident.”
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